Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for fashion designers was $73,790 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,260 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $149,010. The motion picture and video industry was the top paying industry, with a median annual wage of $80,140. This was followed by management of companies and enterprises ($79,420), apparel manufacturing ($73,600) and apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers ($73,060).
Autonomy and Flexibility
A fashion designer often have control over their designs. They get to pick the fabrics, the fit, style and manufacturing process. However, the ultimate decisions comes down to: 1) the trends they predict; and 2) the creative director. This means that in some cases, autonomy on a designers final decision can be low. Similarly, a fashion designers schedule is likely to be at the mercy of the company they work for and the deadlines they need to meet. Therefore, their flexibility is likely to be low.
Locations and commute
Due to the competitive nature of the work, it is not uncommon for fashion designers to relocate to seek better job opportunities. According to Zippia, the best states to be a fashion designer, based on number of jobs available and average annual salary, are:
- Washington, where the average annual salary was $69,560
- Oregon, where the average annual salary was $66,815
- Alaska, where the average annual salary was $103,973
- Utah, where the average annual salary was $66,373
- Colorado, where the average annual salary was $58,178
According to Zippia, the worst states to be a fashion designer are Florida, Wisconsin, Maine, Indiana and Hawaii.
The largest employers of fashion designer in the United States was the apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers, which employed 29% of all fashion designer. 22% of fashion designers are self-employed, 13% are employed by management of companies and enterprises, 11% by motion pictures and video industries and 7% for apparel manufacturing.
Many fashion designers work in-house for wholesalers or manufacturers which sell clothing and accessories to retailers or other marketers for distribution to individual stores, catalog companies, or online retailers.
The 22% of self-employed fashion designers typically create high-fashion garments or custom clothes. In some cases, a self-employed fashion designer may have a clothing line that bears his or her name.